Buying a house in Brussels to become more fiscally attractive

Buying a house in Brussels to become more fiscally attractive
Aerial view of the Brussels city centre. Credit: Belga/James Arthur Gekiere

From 1 April, buying a house in Brussels will become more fiscally attractive, as a new ordinance that includes the increased Brussels discount on registration duties to €200,000, allowing for a saving of up to €25,000 when buying a first home in the city.

Last year, the Brussels-Capital Regional Government approved the preliminary draft ordinance aimed at making the purchasing of a primary residence in the region cheaper from a tax point of view in order to combat the region's unaffordable housing crisis. On 1 April, this ordinance will come into force.

The abattement is a reduction in registration duties, which is the regional tax when a person buys a first home or building plot. To give more Brussels families access to housing, the abattement has been raised from €175,000 to €200,000. Concretely, this means that instead of a discount of €21,875, families will enjoy a discount of €25,000 from 1 April.

Additionally, the current ceiling for being entitled to a tax break is €500,000. This will be increased to €600,000. Similarly, the discount on registration duties for building land will increase from €87,500 to €100,000.

Major energy renovations

The changes do not only come as a sigh of relief for property buyers but also for those undertaking major energy renovations in their homes, as they include an additional allowance for major energy renovations – which amounts to €25,000 for each energy class improvement realised. The parties must at least commit to two energy classes.

Previously, buyers had to move into the house within two years to be entitled to the abattement, but this has now been extended to three years to settle into the new home. For those applying for an additional energy efficiency allowance, the deadline to occupy the building will be extended to five years, making room for project setbacks.

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The last change is that buyers who move out of their home within five years will no longer be obliged to pay the full premium, but rather an adjusted amount based on the number of years they lived in the house.

As registration fees in the Brussels-Capital Region are among the highest in Europe (at 12.5%), the changes hope to curb the need for families to leave the region due to unaffordable housing prices.

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